Ministers are being urged
But Labour-affiliated unions
A Department for
Delegates at Labour's National
Figures released earlier this month revealed that take-up of healthy school dinners has risen in primary schools for the first time since 2004 to 43.6%
In 2006, new rules
There are also calls from an MP writing in the
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Gateshead East and Washington West, argues: "All parents are feeling the pinch and universal
"The chance to
She adds: "Serving up a
Mrs Hodgson says an evaluation of a pilot scheme in Hull shows there is a positive impact of making free school meals universally available
But that the idea was scrapped after a change in the ruling party on council
Mrs Hodgson says she was inspired by what she saw during a visit to schools in Sweden
"Lunch was an integral part of the curriculum with all children eating a healthy meal alongside their teachers.
"The food was
"When I asked whether that was normal behaviour, the Swedish teachers were astonished that we did not do the same here
"They asked whether we did not realise how important it is that children eat a good, nutritious meal at lunch time if they are to concentrate and learn.
A DCSF spokesman said: "We've
"Local authorities already have the power to extend free school meals provision to those they consider need it.
"We are looking at Hull's experiment of offering free school meals to all primary school pupils but have no current plans to change existing national policy
"This would be good news for all children, especially low income families facing rising prices who would save £300 per child on the costs of paying for school meals or pack lunches.
sorry, BBC, could not resist.